Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hurry up! Hurry up! The December book club meeting is coming!

The lovely ladies and I are reading a historical romance (My absolute first time!) as December book, but I can't get my head around a tea party since it's Christmas time... 

I wish I could sit with them around a tiny table surrounded by chill air and spices scent. I wish we could meet at the Weihnachtsmarkt just after sunset, drinking Gluhwein in the typical mug and nibbing delicious Lebkuchen (I love the ones covered with milk chocolate;P) while we talk about the charming Captain... I wish... I wish... I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :D

Monday, December 9, 2013

Amour et Chocolat - The Chocolate series by Laura Florand

"Delve into the world of Paris chocolate, and all the passion and intensity—and the extraordinary sensuality—of luxury artisan chocolatiers and pâtissiers" 
Laura Florand.

Click in the image to reach the relative Amazon page with blurbs, infos, reed a sample.... 

I have to thank Cat's review for introducing me to what has become one of my favorite contemporary romance series (I didn't read the books in order but that's not a problem, they can be read as stand alone).

The heroes in this series are charming chocolatiers or pâtissiers which nature is revealed through the detailed description of their seducing creations! Literally to die for... The chocolates... AND the guys ;)  There is the rambunctious Gabriel and his quixotic desserts, like the memorable Chocolate Rose of the title; or the somber Dominique expert in all the rich, bitter, wild dark chocolates...
The heroines are likable too. They have strong, interesting personalities and in every book Mrs. Florand found the perfect balance for the couple.
Chocolates from Jacques Genin (vincen-t)
Just a little taste about my favorite Chocolate book (So far ;P)  The Chocolate Rose:

Her father’s worst enemy...
Top chef Gabriel Delange never forgave his old nemesis Pierre Manon for all the other chef had cost him.
One stolen rose...
And he most certainly couldn’t stand the sight of his own most famous dessert, the legendary Rose, claimed as Pierre’s own on the cover of his new cookbook.
A substitute victim...
But even Gabriel could hardly go through with a lawsuit when he learned the older chef had just had a stroke. Especially not when Pierre had one very cute daughter willing to be Gabriel’s victim instead.
Jolie Manon...
As a child, Jo had seen her family torn apart by her top chef father’s obsession with his work. She had given years of her own adult life to trying to pull him out of depression, after he lost a star. Now a food writer, she might be fascinated with a chef’s work, but she knew how to guard her heart. She would never allow another chef into her life.
Unless he blackmailed her into it...
Welcome to the heat and sun of Provence, where jasmine and roses climb up old colored walls, where fountains play in ancient stone villages, and where even a beast can prove he is a prince at heart…

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Delicate Chocolate Cake

I'm always looking for the recipe of the perfect Chocolate Cake. Sometimes they're too spongy, sometimes they're too dry, sometimes too heavy. This one I'm posting below is one of my favorites. I split the cake in half and filled with Santin's whipped chocolate ganaché and then put simple whipped cream on top.

Silvia's Chocolate Cake

100 gr All Purpose Flour
100 gr Cornflour
100 gr Unsalted Butter (Melted)
5 eggs
100 gr 55% Dark Chocolate (Melted)
10 gr Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
150 gr Granulated White Sugar
16 gr Baking Powder
4 tablespoons Water

Preheat oven to 340 degrees °F (175 degrees °C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter and cover with flour a (26 cm) cake pan. Or line the bottoms of the pan with baking paper.
Separate whites from yolks and beat them on high until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Put the whites aside.

In a small pan mix sugar and water, put over medium heat and let the syrup boil for 5 minutes.

Beat the yolks for 3 minutes then add the hot syrup, beating the mix for 5 more minutes. Keep the mixer going and add the melted butter and chocolate.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter.
At this point add a third of the egg whites to the batter (using a spatula) and fold them in gently.
Finally add the remained third and continue to gently pull the whites into the batter.
Put the batter in the buttered and floured pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from its pan and cool completely on a greased wire rack before frosting.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Comfy Food: Pork Ribs with Onions & Beer.

Slow and easy...  Slow and easy...  Slow and easy...

Today's recipe is very simple the only requirement is a long cooking time. And believe me, the beer rich, smooth flavor combined with the sweetness of onions and apple will repay your patience and gratify your palate.

1kg Pork Ribs (2 max inch long) or 800gr Pork Chops
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
33cc lager beer (Try different beers in order to find the perfect bland ;P)
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

In a pan brown the pork ribs until golden brown and set aside.  Keep the fat, add garlic, onions and the apple and saute for a few minutes until they are golden. Lower the heat and cover the pan, letting the onions become tender (15-20min.). Top with the brown pork ribs. Add beer and bring to a simmer. Cook * over low heat until the ribs are so tender that they melt in your mouth and the onions and apple are completely melted (I needed 3 hours).
Serve with mashed potatoes and/or green beans.

* I don't have a crock-pot but you can use one of them at this point of the cooking process.